Letting Go

10 Apr 2018

One of the ironies in getting control of your life is the need to let go of some things.

Getting control of your life is not about becoming a control freak. People who have the need to order their world so much they must control others are hard to be around. They fret or get angry when they don’t get their way. Their lives are so out of control, they feel a false sense of power by controlling others and trying to control situations.

The exercise is usually fruitless at best, and devastating at worst. Emotional and physical abuse are extreme examples of trying to be in control.

I’m reminded of a strategy once used to catch monkeys. Poachers would drill holes into a hollowed-out coconut hull and place an enticing bit of food inside. They would then chain the coconut to a tree. A monkey would smell the treat and put its hand inside to retrieve it. With the fist holding the food, there was no getting out. The monkey was trapped.

All the monkey had to do to free itself was let go of the food to relax their hand. It was that impossible, yet that simple.

We are like that. We think we will remain in control if we hang on tightly. But sometimes letting go is what will free us up.

Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr, thinks we have three primary areas for which we need to let go:

  • Success
  • The need to be right
  • Power

Getting comfortable with a degree of uncertainty is a sign of healt and maturity. We can’t know everything. We can’t predict how others will respond or act. We can’t even count on what the weather will do.

Rohr explained the three in a recent devotional:

“There are three primary things that we have to let go of, in my opinion. First is the compulsion to be successful. Second is the compulsion to be right—even, and especially, to be theologically right. (That’s merely an ego trip, and because of this need, churches have split in half, with both parties prisoners of their own egos.) Finally there is the compulsion to be powerful, to have everything under control.”*

I find it interesting that the Old English meaning of forgiveness is linked to “giving up.”**

What do you need to let go of? That recognition you long for? Unrealistic expectations? Loneliness? Fears? Disappointments? Failures? Annoying frustrations about others?

Remember that even a little seed has to die and fall into the ground. Only then can it receive the nurturing of the sun and rain to begin to grow again.

What do you need to let go of and will you do it?


*Richard Rohr’s Meditation: Letting Go Of Our Demons; July 21, 2014

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